Generals, top cops to brief CM8 November 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: The Unified Headquarters is holding its crucial meeting here tomorrow afternoon to discuss a host of security related issues including partial withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Top brass of all security agencies including five Army Commanders, heads of other security forces like BSF, CRPF and all Intelligence agencies have either reached here by this evening or would land tomorrow morning to attend the meeting, which would be chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at his official residence at 4 pm tomorrow. This is first meeting of the Unified Headquarters after shifting of the Civil Secretariat here for next six months of winter and after the row erupted over partial withdrawal of AFSPA last month. Official sources told the Excelsior that General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Northern Command, Lt Gen K T Parnaik, GOC 16 Corps (Nagrota) Lt Gen A S Nandal, GOC 15 Corps (Srinagar) Lt Gen A S Hasnain, GOC 14 Corps (Leh) Lt Gen Ravi Dastane and GOC 9 Corps (Yol Cantonment) Lt Gen A K Chowdhary would be attending the meeting along with Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, Home Secretary B R Sharma, Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda, IG BSF A K Jain, IGP Kashmir SM Sahai, IGP Jammu Dilbagh Singh, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Pawan Kotwal, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Asgar Samoon and all heads of CRPF, Intelligence Bureau (IB), CID and other agencies operating in the State. This will be first meeting Lt Gen Nandal, GOC 16 Corps, also known as White Knight Corps would be attending as he has assumed charge only few days back following transfer of his predecessor Lt Gen J P Nehra. Army chief Gen V K Singh has concluded his three days visit to Leh and Kargil only a day before in which he was accompanied by Lt Gen Parnaik and Lt Gen Dastane. 'The AFSPA was expected to dominate the meeting though Unified Headquarters has no powers to revoke it. The meeting will be used for free exchange of views on implications of partial withdrawal of AFSPA among a host of security related issues in the State. The Generals and top brass of police, civil administration, para-military forces and other security and Intelligence agencies will be sharing their view points on security matters and law and order situation across the State', sources said. A senior Army officer said 'the Generals will give their view point of the situation especially the AFSPA. They will apprise the Chief Minister about the implications the withdrawal of the Act from certain areas could have. We will share our view point. We are not blindly opposed to withdrawal of the AFSPA but we have a point to make and hopefully the Government will appreciate this. 'If somebody is not firing today, this doesn't mean that he will not fire in future also. Union Home Secretary R K Singh has also said only a day before that terror infrastructure was intact across the State'. He added that Army was not opposing withdrawal of AFPSA but was only saying that time was not ripe so far for its withdrawal from the State. According to sources, situation prevailing on the borders, both Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir regions and China border in Leh, more withdrawal of CRPF from urban areas, progress on Rehabilitation Policy for the youth of the State held up in Pakistan and PoK, security scenario in general areas, number of militants operating within the State and those waiting across LoC and IB to infiltrate, infiltration attempts made by the militants in the recent past and successes achieved by security forces and police against the militants would figure in the meeting. Sources said all security and Intelligence agencies were expected to give their perception of the situation on all security related issues including the AFSPA, which has become a hot topic of debate after Mr Abdullah's statement that the Government could go for partial withdrawal of the Act from some parts of the State. Though Mr Abdullah didn't mention any areas, there were reports that the Government could revoke Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) from four to six districts including Jammu, Samba, Kathua in Jammu region and Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal in Kashmir region, leading to withdrawal of AFSPA from urban areas of these districts. Sources added that the Chief Minister was likely to share his perception of situation gathered from different agencies on security scenario including a situation that could emerge in case of partial withdrawal of AFSPA from some areas of four to six districts. The Chief Minister had said in Goa a day before that the AFSPA could always be re-imposed if the situation warrants so. The Congress, a major coalition partner in the State Government, would have Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand as its representative in the Unified Headquarters meeting provided that his health permitted him to join it. He is ailing for past few days and had gone to New Delhi for treatment. The Congress has clear stand now that if Union Home Ministry and Defence Ministry were on same page on the AFSPA, it would have no objections to partial withdrawal of the AFSPA. At the same time, it has said that views of the Army Generals should be taken into consideration. Sources said senior police officers including Mr Khoda, Mr Sahai and Mr Singh would also give their perception of the situation in addition to the heads of BSF, CRPF, IB and other security and Intelligence agencies in the State. 'There is a fair amount of understanding on a number of security related issues among the various agencies operating in the State', sources said. They added that some formulas on partial withdrawal of the AFSPA could be discussed and debated in the Unified Headquarters meeting. The Government had set up a Core Group on review of DAA comprising Home Secretary B R Sharma, DGP Kuldeep Khoda, GOCs of 15 and 16 Corps, Special Director CRPF and Additional Director General IB. The DAA was imposed in some parts of the State in 1991 following outbreak of militancy and extended to the entire State in 2001 excepting two districts of Ladakh region including Leh and Kargil. The withdrawal of the DAA from the areas notified by the State Cabinet would automatically lead to withdrawal of AFSPA. Meanwhile, the Civil Secretariat is re-opening here tomorrow for next six months of the winter. The Chief Minister will inspect guard of honour in the Secretariat tomorrow morning before the offices start functioning. Along with the Civil Secretariat, the offices of Raj Bhawan, Police Headquarters and Assembly-Council Secretariat would also re-open tomorrow.